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Lucas Edward Neill (born 9 March 1978 in Sydneymarker, Australia) is an Australian footballer who currently plays for Everton.

He is a right back who can also play at centre back. Neill is also the captain of the Australian national team.

Background

Lucas' father Edward is originally from Northern Irelandmarker and played for Belfast sides Linfield Swifts, Cliftonville and Brantwood. He left Northern Ireland for Australia in 1969. Neill grew up in the Northern Beaches of Sydney and was a student at Wakehurst Primary School, in Belrose, and St. Augustine's Collegemarker, in Brookvalemarker, before attending the Australian Institute of Sport on a football scholarship in 1994-95.

Club career

Millwall

Neill joined Millwall on a free transfer in November 1995, making his debut on 17 February against Luton Town in 1996. In almost six years at The Denmarker, he made 174 appearances in all competitions, scoring 13 goals. In September 2001, Neill, by then the longest serving player at the club, submitted a transfer request and shortly after, signed for Blackburn Roversmarker for an initial fee of £600,000 plus up to £400,000 more depending on appearances.

Blackburn Rovers

Neill played his first game for Blackburn in September 2001 against Sunderland and scored his first Blackburn goal later that month against Bolton Wanderers. Neill is a combative, versatile player. He has played in all defensive positions during his professional career and is a key member for both his club and national team.

Neill was well-regarded by Blackburn Roversmarker supporters largely due to his never-say-die, determined attitude. He was one of Blackburn Rovers' most consistent performers and held the right back position for over five years without any competition.

Neill's combative and committed style of play in the Premier League attracted criticism in 2003-04 at a time when Blackburn had been criticised routinely for their aggressive play. He broke the leg of Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher when his trailing leg caught that of the Liverpool player in the fifth game of the 2003-04 season in a tackle at Ewood Parkmarker. Carragher, a popular home-grown Liverpool player, was sidelined for six months and the incident sparked a war of words between Gérard Houllier and Graeme Souness after Neill and his manager did not apologise for 48 hours .

Johan Neeskens, who became assistant to Barcelona manager Frank Rijkard for the 2006-07 season, said that Neill "could play for any of the best clubs". On 4 August 2006 he announced he would not sign a new four-year contract for Blackburn Rovers. The player's agent, Peter Harrison, said "He has enjoyed his time there (Blackburnmarker), he loves the club and the fans, he just feels it is time for a change."On 30 August, Liverpool reportedly made a £2 million bid for Neill; however, this bid was rejected by Blackburn. The club wanted Stephen Warnock in part exchange for Neill; however Liverpool were not prepared to let the left-back go. In late November, rumours emerged that Chelsea or even Barcelona were also interested in his signature. Neill, once a cult hero at Blackburn left under something of a storm and is now extremely unpopular amongst Blackburn fans. He was booed and barracked on his return to Ewood Park in March 2007.

West Ham United

Neill playing for West Ham.
In January 2007 Neill turned his back on a un-confirmed bid from in favour of West Ham United, following the successful transfer of Stephen Warnock from Liverpool to Blackburn. Neill was accused of his primary motivating factor being money, but he later refuted these claims, stating the move was for purely footballing reasons . Neill later alleged to the media that Liverpool hadn't made him feel truly wanted, and that he had not even spoken to manager Rafael Benítez. Neill made his league debut for the Hammers in February 2007 against Watford, where he picked up a knee injury. He captained the team for the first time during a 3-4 defeat against Tottenham Hotspur the following month and went on to play every remaining game of the season. He became the permanent team captain following Nigel Reo-Coker's transfer to . Neill made his first appearance as team captain in the 1-1 draw against Wigan Athletic on 25 August 2007. Neill scored his only goal for West Ham in a 3-2 away defeat to West Brom in September 2008. At the end of the 2008–09 season Neill rejected a one year contract extension with West Ham, becoming a free agent.

Everton

Neill playing for Everton in 2009
On 17 September 2009, Neill joined close friend Tim Cahill at Everton on a free transfer, signing a one-year deal. He was unveiled to the fans at half time during Everton's 4-0 Europa League win at Goodison Parkmarker against AEK Athens.Neill played his first game for Everton on 23 September 2009 in the League Cup, coming on as a second half substitution for Leighton Baines, in their 4-0 victory over Hull City.. Neill's first start for Everton in the Premier League was on 25 October 2009 where he played a full match against Bolton Wanderers setting up two goals .

International career

In October 1996, Neill became the second youngest player, after Harry Kewell, to debut for the Australian national team when he played in a friendly game against Saudi Arabia in Riyadhmarker, aged 18 years and 7 months. He also competed at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney with the Australian men's team, the Olyroos.

Lucas Neill bringing down Fabio Grosso in the penalty area giving Italy a spot kick which ultimately knocked Australia out of the 2006 World Cup.


On 16 November 2005 at Sydney's ANZ Stadium, Neill helped Australia qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup playing the entire game and scoring the Socceroos' second penalty in a shoot-out against Uruguay, after aggregate scores were tied at 1-1 following extra-time. He was named Man of the Match for this game.

Neill started all four of Australia's games at the 2006 World Cup. In the closing minutes of Australia's Round of 16 game against Italy, referee Luis Medina Cantalejo adjudged Neill to have fouled Italian fullback Fabio Grosso in the penalty area. Francesco Totti converted the penalty kick to score and give the Italians a 1-0 victory, knocking Australia out of the cup.

Following the World Cup, Neill expressed his desire to captain his national side and on 6 October 2006 was named as the 50th player to captain Australia. On 7 October, 2006 he made his debut as the Socceroo's captain in a 1-1 friendly against Paraguay, in Brisbanemarker. Four days later, in Sydney, he captained Australia again in an Asian Cup qualifying game against Bahrain, which Australia won 2-0. On 2 June, 2007, Neill captained the Socceroos again in a friendly match against Uruguay at Sydney's Telstra Stadium in which Australia lost 2-1.

On 13 July 2007, in the dying seconds of the Socceroo's 3-1 loss to Iraq, Neill verbally abused the referee. He received his second yellow card and was sent off, capping a disappointing performance by the Australian side. In the quarter finals of the Asian Cup, Neill missed a crucial penalty in a shootout against Japan which resulted in Australia's elimination from the cup. Neill played his 50th game for Australia in a World Cup Qualifier against Japan, a game that Australia won 2-1 with Tim Cahill scoring both goals.

Career Statistics

(correct as of 1 November 2009)

Club Season League Cup Europe Total
Apps Goals Assists Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Millwall 1995-96 13 0 - 0 0 0 0 13 0
1996-97 39 4 - 5 0 0 0 44 4
1997-98 6 0 - 1 0 0 0 7 0
1998-99 35 6 - 9 0 0 0 44 6
1999-00 31 1 - 4 0 0 0 35 1
2000-01 24 2 - 1 0 0 0 25 2
2001-02 4 1 - 1 0 0 0 5 1
Blackburn Roversmarker 2001-02 31 1 0 4 0 0 0 35 1
2002-03 34 0 3 7 0 4 0 45 0
2003-04 32 2 0 2 0 1 0 35 2
2004-05 36 1 2 8 0 0 0 44 1
2005-06 35 1 2 7 2 0 0 42 3
2006-07 20 0 0 1 0 5 1 26 1
West Ham United 2006-07 11 0 1 1 0 0 0 12 0
2007-08 34 0 - 6 0 0 0 40 0
2008-09 33 1 - 3 0 0 0 36 1
Everton 2009-10 2 0 2 2 0 0 0 4 0
Career totals 420 20 10 62 2 10 1 492 23


Personal life

On the 2 June 2008, his long term girlfriend, Lindsay Morris, gave birth to twins; a boy and a girl, named Paige and Toby.

On 28 September 2009, Neill was a victim of burglars who had been targeting the homes of Premier League players. Neill was at home when thieves broke in and stole belongings, including his keys, before driving off in his car, which was found soon after.

References

  1. "Neill on the move", BBC Sport, 3 September 2001. Retrieved 28 June 2007.
  2. Soccerbase: Lucas Neill, Racing Post. Retrieved 28 June 2007.
  3. "Blackburn seal Neill deal", BBC Sport, 7 September 2001. Retrieved 28 June 2007.
  4. Hughes recalls 'crazy' Hammers visit
  5. West Brom 3-2 West Ham
  6. Mersey flight for Aussie skipper as Neill and Cahill unite www.heraldsun.com.au
  7. Hull 0 - 4 Everton www.bbc.co.uk
  8. Bolton 3 - 2 Everton www.bbc.co.uk
  9. Includes FA Cup, League Cup, FA Community Shield and League Trophy


External links




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